Organic silk: development potential for handicraft and trade in North- East-India
Public-Private-Partnership starts sustainable textile production in Meghalaya
In Meghalaya, a beautiful country in the north-east corner of India, 12.5 % of the rural tribes are living below the breadline. Besides that the climate change restricts, by raising temperature und decreasing precipitation, the recent agricultural activities (e.g. the fish breeding). Now it is planned to install a sustainable and fair textile chain from silk rearing up to production of clothing as an alternative chance for earned income.
The natural resources to intensify the silk production exist and the handicraft’s tradition of silk rearing processing offers an excellent basis to introduce innovative techniques and to manufacture new products. Local stakeholders and NGOs are involved to create together with the German Development Collaboration (GIZ) as project partner fair and social conditions for the handicrafts women.
Dr Matias Langer, CEO of Seidentraum, reports: „It is so beautiful to see the dedication the women in Meghalaya work with. They are enjoyed about the interest in their silk products and they are open for every kind of support”.
It is planned to intensify the organic silk rearing, to introduce manual spinning wheels and frame looms and to improve the dyeing techniques with local plants. The project „Socio-economic empowerment of rural women artisans working in the eri silk value chain in Meghalaya“ is carried out under the umbrella of German- Indian development collaboration and is part of the measures of the climate change adaptation in the North-Eastern regions of India.
Designers and brands are welcome as partners in the course of product design. The marketing of the organic textiles in Europe takes place by Seidentraum, fairs and retailers.
Subsistence endangered by Climatic Change
Help the women of Meghalaya in establishing a sustainable livelihood
The climatic change mainly caused by us destroys – far away from industry and “civilization” the subsistence of the rural tribes in the north-east corner of India, so for example in Meghalaya.
Decreasing precipitation and raising temperature avoid the agricultural activities doing it the usual way. To prevent a migration into the cities it is urgently necessary to create new possibilities for earn a living. An alternative is the silk rearing practiced by the women since centuries for their own needs. Its increase together with the build-up of a market for natural silk textiles in Europe will help the women and future generations to create a new livelihood.
We can reach this by special trainings, the introduction of efficient working processes and new handicraft technology, by build-up of a producing community and continuous back- stopping and consulting. The objective is the empowerment to manufacture constantly high-end products in larger quantities that hit the requirements and the taste of the European customers.
Meghalaya is a wonderful but very poor country in the North-East corner of India, at the foot of the Himalaya. 12.5 % of the rural tribes are living below the breadline. The per-capita income represents only USD 700 per year (USA approx. USD 55,000).
The people love their country. They practice organic rice farming and fish breeding and harvest fruits and vegetables. Until now they lived as farmers und handicrafts in accordance with nature.
Support is needed to install this project
The situation in Meghalaya is optimally suitable for the increase of eri silk rearing. Eri silk is especially smooth and soft and an excellent material for healthy natural textiles especially for babies and children with skin problems and allergies.
Peace Silk means that no silk worm is killed for the silk fibre production. Only empty cocoons are processed for yarn making.
It is necessary to improve the quality of the silk yarn and the fabrics by trainings for farmers, spinners and weavers. By continuous demand for eri silk textiles the handicrafts will be able to work regularly and not only occasionally. Thus we achieve an improvement of the skills, constant quality of the products and can save traditional handicrafts techniques.
What Seidentraum is jointly doing
We support the process of product development, offer consulting in quality and design affairs and help to build up the market. The project is planned for 2 ½ years and is executed in close collaboration with the German Association for International Collaboration (GIZ) in Meghalaya. Besides that we use our existing connections to the Government of Megha- laya and NGOs in Shillong to facilitate the implementation.
For example: By the use of Flying-8 looms in- stead of floor looms the physical stress can be crucially reduced and the efficiency of labour increased. Flying-8 looms consist only of wood, are cheap and easy to built by everybody using a hammer, a saw and nails.
What you could contribute
Seidentraum is asking you to support its initiative and to help the women in Meghalaya to save their subsistence by silk production and textile manufacturing.
What financial support can do:
• for 50 Euro a spinning wheel
• for 100 Euro the material for a Flying-8 loom
• for 200 Euro a training of several days
• for 500 Euro a participation at a fair
The spinners and weavers will send you a little thank-you gift and I will inform you about the progress by my newsletter.
Your help will not only improve the living conditions of the people in Meghalaya but also will save the cultural heritage of handicraft techniques and effects the manufacturing of health and precious silk textiles.
Donations and support for the project can be made here
For more information on Seidentraum, please revert to TextileFuture’s Newsletter here